Title:
SAND AND SOIL INTERNAL REINFORCEMENT SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sand and soil internal reinforcement system including a plurality of individual modules removably connectable together act to reinforce sand and/or soil against shifting caused by erosive forces such as water and wind in high energy environments such as coastal beaches and watershed areas which produce large volumes of runoff or in hill sides subject to sliding due to ground water hydrostatic pressure. The modules include a cell having a front panel, rearward extending side walls which are held together by an open soil ballast and anchor membrane, and a refractor panel. Fill placed on top of the ballast and anchor membrane provides structural stability for each individual module independent of other adjoining modules of the reinforcement system. The interface established between adjacent modules requires no supplemental coupling devices, such as shear and alignment pins, to removably secure them together.



Inventors:
Klenert, Oskar Heinrich (Mashpee, MA, US)
Application Number:
12/243074
Publication Date:
06/25/2009
Filing Date:
10/01/2008
Assignee:
EARTH PROTECTION SYSTEMS, INC. (Meredith, NH, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/578
International Classes:
E02D5/00; E04C1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LAGMAN, FREDERICK LYNDON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Chris, Caseiro A. (VERRILL DANA, LLP, ONE PORTLAND SQUARE, PORTLAND, ME, 04112-0586, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sand and/or soil internal reinforcement system comprising a plurality of modules selectable arranged and removably interlocked with one another, wherein two or more of the modules each includes: a. a front panel; b. a first side panel joined to the front panel, wherein the first side panel includes a receiving port of selectable configuration; c. a second side panel joined to the front panel and spaced from the first side panel by the front panel, wherein the second side panel includes a protrusion configured to match substantially the configuration of the receiving port of the first side panel; and d. a bottom ballast and anchor membrane joined to the first side panel and the second side panel, further spacing the first side panel from the second side panel, wherein the internal reinforcement system is established by inserting the protrusion of one or more modules into the receiving port of one or more adjacent modules and filling one or more modules with fill placed on the bottom ballast and anchor membrane.

2. The system as claimed in claim 1 further comprising a refractor panel located on the front panel, wherein the refractor panel is arranged to refract erosive forces.

3. The system as claimed in claim 2 wherein the refractor panel includes one or more angled recesses in order to further divide erosive forces applied to the refractor panel.

4. The system as claimed in claim 3 wherein the refractor panel further includes beveled edges to redirect scouring forces in an upward and sideway direction.

5. The system as claimed in claim 3 wherein the angled recesses are angled rearwardly from a perimeter frame of the refractor panel.

6. The system as claimed in claim 2 wherein the refractor panel is coated with a friction-reducing coating selected to resist scouring forces and atmospheric corrosive elements.

7. The system as claimed in claim 2 wherein the face of the refractor panel includes a scouring lip.

8. The system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the plurality of modules are oriented in a multi-tiered arrangement.

9. The system as claimed in claim 5 wherein one of the tiers of the multi-tiered arrangement is an anchor row positionable below the grade of the area where sand and/or soil is to be reinforced.

10. The system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the receiving port of the first side panel is configured as a half-round tapered opening and the protrusion of the second side panel is configured as a half-round tapered extension.

11. The system as claimed in claim 10 wherein the dimensions of the half-round tapered opening are greater than the dimensions of the half-round tapered extension.

12. The system as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of the first side panel and the second side panel includes a notch at a top surface thereof, wherein the notch is configured to receive therein a bottom flange of the front panel and determines the angle of repose of a frontal face of the multi-tiered arrangement.

13. The system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the bottom ballast membrane includes a fill opening arranged to permit fill to pass therethrough to form an uninterrupted vertical column of sand and/or soil.

14. The system as claimed in claim 1 wherein one or more portions of the module are made of non-metallic material.

15. The system as claimed in claim 14 wherein the non-metallic material is a geo-synthetic polymer.

16. A module suitable to facilitate the internal reinforcement of sand or soil located in an erosive environment, the module comprising: a. a front panel; b. a first side panel joined to the front panel, wherein the first side panel includes a receiving port of selectable configuration; c. a second side panel joined to the front panel and spaced from the first side panel by the front panel, wherein the second side panel includes a protrusion configured to match substantially the configuration of the receiving port of the first side panel; and d. a bottom ballast and anchor membrane joined to the first side panel and the second side panel, further spacing the first side panel from the second side panel.

17. The module as claimed in claim 16 further comprising a refractor panel located on the front panel, wherein the refractor panel is arranged to refract erosive forces.

18. The module as claimed in claim 17 wherein the refractor panel includes one or more angled recesses in order to further divide erosive forces applied to the refractor panel.

19. The module as claimed in claim 18 wherein the refractor panel further includes beveled edges to redirect scouring forces in an upward and sideway direction.

20. The module as claimed in claim 18 wherein the angled recesses are angled rearwardly from a perimeter frame of the refractor panel.

21. The system as claimed in claim 17 wherein the refractor panel is coated with a friction-reducing coating selected to resist scouring forces and atmospheric corrosive elements.

22. The module as claimed in claim 17 wherein the refractor panel includes a scouring lip.

23. The module as claimed in claim 16 wherein the receiving port of the first side panel is configured as a half-round tapered opening and the protrusion of the second side panel is configured as a half-round tapered extension.

24. The module as claimed in claim 23 wherein the dimensions of the half-round tapered opening are greater than the dimensions of the half-round tapered extension.

25. The module as claimed in claim 16 wherein each of the first side panel and the second side panel includes a notch at a top surface thereof, wherein the notch is configured to receive therein a bottom flange of the front panel.

26. The module as claimed in claim 16 wherein the bottom ballast and anchor membrane includes a fill opening.

27. The module as claimed in claim 16 wherein one or more portions of the module are made of non-metallic material.

28. The module as claimed in claim 27 wherein the non-metallic material is a geo-synthetic polymer.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the priority benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/008,597, filed Dec. 20, 2007, entitled “SAND/SOIL CELL MODULE SYSTEM” of the same named inventor. The entire contents of that prior application are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to systems designed to reinforce the inherent structural characteristics of a body of sand or soil to assist in the resistance against erosive action. More particularly, the present invention relates to modular structures that may be selectable configured to conform with the geography, geology and contour of the location where the sand or soil to be reinforced exists. The present invention may be arranged as a plurality of modules establishing a multi-tiered system that when buried or otherwise integrated with the sand/soil, increases the tensile strength of the sand/soil strata, which would otherwise be weakened by super saturation, hydrostatic pressure, movement, shaking and/or shifting/sloughing by the dynamic forces of water, wind and/or earth tremors.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Problems associated with sand and/or soil due to erosive wave attack or scouring by rapidly moving water in the coastal and inland environment are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,499,891 ('891 patent) issued Mar. 19, 1996, by the inventor of the present invention. The entire content of the '891 patent is incorporated herein by reference.

The '891 patent describes an earth retaining system forming what is generally perceived as a wall constructed of a plurality of pre-cast concrete blocks with fill spaces. The wall requires assembly in place, with individually blocks joined and secured with shear and alignment pins, which shear and alignment pins may be coated with a protective non-metallic material, such as neoprene. The system of the '891 patent required off-site manufacturing of the wall components and then shipment of the components to the site of interest for placement, thereby requiring heavy construction machinery. The wall is intended to be arranged to create a terrace-type infrastructure, which is buried or can remain uncovered.

The structural stability of the '891 patented system is derived primarily by the mass of concrete of each block consisting of a front panel and side panels. It has been determined that there are limitations of design associated with the use of heavy concrete blocks fabricated and arranged in the manner described in the '891 patent. The individual blocks of the prior system, when aligned side by side, are limited in the formation of a curve such that gaps between individual blocks cannot be avoided while also establishing the required curvature. These gaps, created between the vertical side panels of adjacent blocks, result in the washout of sand or soil as water or wind forces pass over and, eventually, through the prior retaining system.

In addition to the existence of interblock gaps, the prior system has solid rearward extending side panels, which in conjunction with dead-man anchors provide stability, depending primarily on weight of the block. That arrangement is intended to maintain the system in place under the loading conditions anticipated, but make the system difficult to maneuver in place without substantial moving equipment, which may be difficult to bring to the location requiring the erosion stabilization. The prior system also requires the use of steel rods to anchor the blocks in place to prevent sliding. Sufficient anchoring may not be available, dependent upon the stability and retaining capability of the underlying substrate. Alternatively, it may be necessary to supplement standard anchoring rods with extensions, supplemental footings or the like to reach suitable substrate support, such as underlying bedrock well below the surface where the erosion occurs.

A further limitation of the prior retaining system described in the '891 patent is the existence of governmental restrictions on the introduction of concrete structures on public land, particularly in coastal locations. Prior alternatives to address the desire to eliminate concrete structures from public lands has led to the option of using less dense materials to form the modules, such as plastics, for example. However, prior plastic-fabricated retaining structures had to be assembled on site and then filled with sand/soil to establish the necessary load integrity. It is not particularly desirable to undertake assembly activity on site, particularly when that site is a public setting, such as a coastal beachfront. Moreover, the process of assembly can be costly in itself.

When concrete structures are permitted, if the placement site is difficult to access, it may be necessary to pour the structure on site. That then requires a time delay as the concrete sets up. In that situation, the process is slow and the curing concrete may be exposed to the damaging environmental conditions it is intended to blunt. A better system would involve the use of preassembled components easily installed at the location of need and ready for use once installed.

These and other features of the prior retaining systems limit their capability to provide an effective, cost efficient and marketable device suitable and competitive in the art of mitigating and preventing beach erosion and the failure of soil in embankments or bluffs. What is needed is a sand and soil internal reinforcement system configured to resolve these limitations.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a sand and soil internal reinforcement system that may be easily installed at any location of interest. Further, it is an object of the present invention to provide such a system that does not require the use of heavy machinery for either assembly or installation. Yet further, it is an object of the present invention to provide a sand and soil reinforcement system that allows for customized configuration formation without compromising its functionality including, for example, allowing for curved arrangements without modular gaps sufficient to compromise the integrity of the system.

These and other objects are achieved with the present invention, which is a sand and soil internal reinforcement system including a plurality of individual modules that when releasably coupled together in varied combinations through the linking of adjoining flexible slip joints form a multi-tiered, step-up, set-back, staggered and interlocked internal method to reinforce sand/soil against shifting, sloughing and other erosive action caused by water and wind in high energy environments such as coastal beaches and watershed areas which produce large volumes of runoff or in hill sides subject to sliding due to ground water hydrostatic pressure. In effect) the system of the present invention functions somewhat like a root system that one might expect from the existence of a trees and/or vegetation, which acts to reinforce the sand or soil associated therewith.

The modules of the system of the present invention are in a selectable geometric form, such as an open rectangular shape, for example, when viewed from above. The module includes a cell body and a refractor panel. The cell body includes a front panel, rearward extending side walls, and a ballast and anchor membrane, slightly raised above the bottom of the vertical components of the cell. The cell body is open on the top so that fill may be placed on top of the ballast and anchor membrane to provide structural stability for each individual cell module independent of other adjoining cell modules. The refractor panel may be removably or permanently affixed to the front panel of the cell body.

The side walls of each cell are configured to establish interface joints between adjacent cells. The interface joints established eliminate the need to use shear and alignment pins to secure adjacent cells together. Cells may be easily joined and separated due to the interface joints of the present invention. In an embodiment of the invention to be described herein, one of the two side walls of the cell body include a slip-type joint component and a protruding extension with a flat bottom and tapered surface. The opposing side wall includes an opening generally corresponding in configuration to the configuration of the protruding extension such that adjacent cell modules will fit together. One side wall acting as a male component and the adjacent side wall of the adjacent cell module acting as the female component when the two adjacent cell modules are positioned together. Each cell of the module is loaded with sand/soil fill placed on top of the ballast and anchor membrane and is anchored against sliding by, in addition the interface between adjacent cells, the ballast fill passing through an opening in the center of the ballast membrane to form a solid vertical column of sand/soil.

The modules may be combined in a multi-row setback, staggered stacked formation through interlocking placement at a bottom center point of the front panel of each upper cell into top alignment notches of the side panels of two adjoining lower cells. The stress of weight of the upper cell is distributed over the top of the underlying cells by both the interlocking portion of the front panel and also the underside of the soil ballast membrane.

The reinforcement system of the present invention comprising a plurality of the modules is set in place by burying it inside the toe of a coastal bank, dune, cliff or bluff. Its primary function is to provide a second line of defense during severe coastal storms or intense precipitation generating large amounts of runoff. Unlike any other system used to address erosion problems, the present invention, after it becomes partially or filly exposed during a severe wave attack, has the ability to dissipate the wave energy and decelerate the velocity of the moving mass of water. Specifically, one or more setback rows of a plurality of modules shear the volume of water pushed by an incoming wave into one or more horizontal layers depending on the height of the wave.

The dynamic energy of the moving mass of water is divided as it reaches the refractor panels of each module of a multi-tiered, step-up, set-back and interlocked system of the present invention, with the dividing events separated by microseconds. During that event delay measured in microseconds when the incoming wave is sheared into horizontal layers to create shear planes within the body of water, the shear planes themselves dissipate energy due to the friction generated. The volume of water between the shear planes after making contact with the refractor panels of the modules of the lowest row of the reinforcement system is lifted upward by the configuration of the refractor panel, which in an embodiment is backward inclined and recessed. The underside of the wave shear bar, located at the top of the refractor panel, reverses the flow of the water, pushing it into the underside of the upper flowing mass of water between the shear planes, effectively dissipating the dynamic energy by decelerating the wave velocity. The remaining scouring forces are directed upward and sideways away from the dune or upland, which are protected by the system. The turbulence created by the sudden stoppage of the moving mass of water occurs in mid air, effectively dissipating the scouring forces, minimizing the wave return velocity and preventing bottom scour.

These and other advantages of the present invention can be seen in the following detailed description, the accompanying drawings and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a module of the reinforcement system of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the module of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a first side view of the module of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a second side view of the module of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional front view of the module of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a cross sectional side view of the module of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a cross sectional partial front view of an intermodular interface of the reinforcement system of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a combination of interlocked modules of the reinforcement system of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the reinforcement system of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a front view of the reinforcement system of FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a side view of a second embodiment of the reinforcement system of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is a sand and/or soil internal reinforcement system as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The reinforcement system is a combination of individual modules that may be combined to form an interlocked and terraced arrangement of selectable configuration to internally reinforce sand and soils in coastal banks, dunes, beach berms, cliffs, bluffs, dikes, levees, and to effectively mitigate erosion caused by wave action, wind forces, hydrostatic pressure, super saturation and liquefaction. An important aspect of the invention is the configuration of a module 10 shown in FIGS. 1-6.

The module 10 includes a cell body with a front panel 12, a first side panel 14, a second side panel 16 and a bottom ballast and anchor membrane 18. The first side panel 14 and the second side panel 16 extend rearward from the front panel 12 and may be formed integrally with the front panel 12 or by separate components removably or permanently affixed to the front panel 12. Further, the first side panel 14 and the second side panel 16 each include a top and a bottom areas of both the first side panel 14 and the second side panel 16 are joined together by the ballast and anchor membrane 18. They may be removably or permanently joined to the membrane 18. One or more of the front panel 12, the first side panel 14, the second side panel 16 and the membrane 18 may be formed as a unitary structure or as individual structures joined together.

The module 10 further includes a refractor panel 12a that is permanently or removably joined to the front panel 12 of the module 10. The refractor panel 12a may extend above and cover a top portion of the front panel 12. As shown in the figures, an upper region of the refractor panel 12a is a flange that is positioned on an upper forward surface of the front panel 12. The upper flange of the refractor panel 12a may extend rearwardly along the upper forward surface of the front panel 12a selectable distance. The refractor panel 12a may be added to or removed from the cell of the module 10 as desired prior to module fill. The refractor panel 12a may be a separate structure to the cell body or it may be fabricated integrally therewith.

The refractor panel 12a includes one or more angled recesses 13. The recesses 13 are preferably angled rearwardly from a perimeter frame of the refractor panel 12a, with the recess deeper at the upper portion of the refractor panel 12a than at the lower portion of the refractor panel 12a. This arrangement enhances wave shearing action upon first contact of a wave or other erosive actor so as to dissipate the energy of that action upon initial contact with the module 10. The refractor panel 12a may further include an anti-scouring lip 15 at a lower portion thereof. The anti-scouring lip reduces the scouring effect of particulates that may be entrained in the fluid impacting the cell module 10. The refractor panel 12a further includes beveled edges to redirect scouring forces in an upward and sideway direction. The refractor panel 12a may optionally be coated with a friction-reducing coating selected to resist scouring forces and atmospheric corrosive elements.

The cell and the refractor panel 12a of the module 10 may be fabricated of the same non-metallic material, such as a polymeric material. The refractor panel 12a may be coated to reduce the roughness coefficient of its surface so that scouring of that surface may be minimized. The cell may be an uncoated structure having a roughness coefficient approximating that of sand but not restricted thereto. With the refractor panel 12a substantially covering the portion of the cell most likely to come in direct contact with the most erosive action. This arrangement of the refractor panel 12a with respect to the front panel 12 and the remainder of the cell embeds the entire cell in the sand/soil and also covers interlocking notches of adjoining modules as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. It is also to be noted that the refractor panel 12a acts to minimize the strongest form of erosive forces on the cell of the module 10. It is to be noted that with the two-piece arrangement of the module 10, any damage is likely to occur at the refractor panel 12a, which may be replaced without the need to replace the entire module 10. this arrangement, embeds the entire Cell Body in Sand and also covers the interlocking notches below the wave refractor panel.

Each of the first side panel 14 and the second side panel 16 includes a notch 20 at the top areas thereof and footings 21 at the bottom areas thereof. The notches 20 are adapted to accept in an interlocking manner bottom flange 22 of the front panel 12 substantially centered thereat. In this way, one cell module may be removably positioned on top of a pair of other cell modules by inserting the bottom flange 22 into adjacent notches 20. The location of the notches 20 front to back on top of the side panels 14/16 is determined by the characteristics of the substrate to be retained and stabilized by the module 10. Those characteristics include, but are not limited to, the shear stress of the substrate pressing against internal surface 24 of the front panel 12 when in position, and also the existing slope gradient of the coastal bank, dune or cliff at the stabilization location of interest. In particular, the angle of repose of a particular set of modules 10 is defined by differing locations of the notches 20. That angle of repose is preferably selected to parallel the angle of repose of the particular soil type to be reinforced. In effect, the selected angle of repose is chosen to negate loading forces directed against the internal surface 24 of the front panel 12.

The first side panel 14 includes a receiving port 26 that may be configured as a half-round tapered opening with a flat bottom. The second side panel 16 includes an interface protrusion 28 that is configured to correspond in design to the receiving port 26 of the first side panel 14 such that it fits within the receiving port 26 but with a loose fit between the two to allow for movement of one module in relation to an adjacent module without the interface protrusion 28 and the receiving port 26 completely separating from one another. For example, the dimensions of the receiving port 26 may be greater than the dimensions of the protrusion 28. In the configuration of the module 10 shown in FIGS. 3-5, the interface protrusion 28 is a half-round tapered extension with a flat bottom.

As shown in FIG. 7, when two adjacent ones of the module 10 are to be removably interlocked together, the protrusion 28 of one module is inserted into the receiving port 26 of the other. Those two components of the module 10 are fabricated with sufficient difference in the respective dimensions of the protrusion 28 and the receiving port 26 that one module 10 may be angled with respect to the other without the protrusion 28 of that module being completely spaced away from the receiving port 26 of the other module. The flexible joint established in this manner secures adjacent modules together without the need for any additional coupling devices including, for example, the shear and alignment pins of the prior system described herein. The flexible joint established by the interface of the receiving port 26 of one module 10 with the protrusion 28 of an adjacent module 10 accounts not only for horizontal deflections of a system of modules, but also for vertical deflections, such as uplifts, as well. Further, and more specifically, the flat bottoms of the receiving ports 26 and the protrusions 28 establish both vertical and horizontal alignment of adjoining modules.

One or more of the side panels 14/16, front panel 12, and membrane 18 include reinforcement ribs and/or supporting cleats to equalize the dead weight of the fill and prevent side panels 14/16 from deforming. The reinforcement ribs associated with the side panels 14/16 also minimize or eliminate splaying of those panels during the fill operation, and further function as anchor elements to prevent forward and/or backward sliding of the cell body after embedment in sand or soil. Examples are shown in FIGS. 2 and 7 of a reinforcement rib 31 and a support cleat 33 for the side panels 14/16. An example of a front panel reinforcement rib 35 is shown in FIG. 6.

The thickness of the protrusion 28 and the depth of the receiving port 26 must be sufficient to allow the two to remain interfaced when one is moved with respect to the other. For example, FIG. 8 illustrates a row of three modules adjacent to one another. Center module 40 has a first alignment, second module 42 has a second alignment, and third module 44 has a third alignment, wherein each alignment is distinct from the others. The second module 42 is angled slightly forward with respect to the center module 40 and the third module 44 is angled in a more pronounced manner but in a rearward direction from the center module 40. In this arrangement, first module interface 46 established by the joining of the protrusion 28 of the center module 40 and the port 26 of the second module 42 exists, but the protrusion 28 of the center module 40 extends at an angle slightly outwardly from the port 26 of the second module 42 at the rear thereof. A gap thus exists between the center module 40 and the second module 42, but at the rear of the row of modules. In addition, second module interface 48 established by the joining of the protrusion 28 of the third module 44 and the port 26 of the center module 40 exists, but the protrusion 28 of the third module 44 extends at an angle slightly outwardly from the port 26 of the center module 40 at the front thereof A gap thus exists between the center module 40 and the third module 44, but at the front of the row of modules. Maintenance of module interfaces while allowing for gaps between adjacent modules permits the user to customize the shape of the reinforcement system of the present invention by selective positioning of individual modules with respect to one another while keeping adjacent ones interlocked.

The bottom ballast membrane 18 illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 8 includes a cutaway section 19 and fill opening 30. The cutaway section 19 and the fill opening 30 allow for fill to pass around and under the module 10 so as to enhance anchorage of the module 10 in the location of interest. The membrane 18 may be fabricated of any material considered to be suitable for the intended purpose including, but not limited to, a non-metallic material. The membrane 18 itself may be solid or porous but should be of sufficient strength to maintain the spacing between the first side panel 14 and the second side panel 16. The inner space of the cell module 10 defined by the arrangement of the front panel 12, the first side panel 14, the second side panel 16 and the membrane 18 may be partially or completely filled with sand/soil to provide enough ballast to the cell module 10 so that it becomes substantially immovable once positioned where desired.

The loaded membrane 18 together with the bottom flange 22 of the front panel 12 and the footings 21 of the first side panel 14 and the second side panel 16, once the cell module 10 is filled, establish a solid footing for each module independent of the condition of any adjoining modules. Further, the cell module 10 is configured so that any portion of the fill within the open space of the cell module 10, when exposed to attack by plunging type waves, will cause saturation of the fill strata directly behind the front panel 12. The top of the ballast membrane 18 and the volume of any dry fill within the cell module 10 will hold the saturated fill in place, allowing excess content of water to be absorbed into the mass of dry fill without being blown out and causing a void in the embedment fill.

The cell module 10 may be fabricated of high strength geo-synthetic polymer or similar non-metallic material, provided it is sufficiently resistive to atmospheric corrosive elements. The use of a non-metallic material provides sufficient strength of the structure while maintaining relatively lightweight. The cell module 10 derives its stability mainly from the fill placed on the ballast membrane 18 rather than from the structure itself which was a limitation of the prior stabilization devices. When a plurality of cell modules 10 are positioned adjacent to and on top of one another, a terraced-type soil and sand internal reinforcement system is established, such as system 200 shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 in a two-tier arrangement, and as system 300 in FIG. 11 in a four-tier arrangement. In the four-tier arrangement, an anchor tier 100 is first positioned below existing grade 110 and each cell module thereof filled. A second tier 120 is then positioned set back on the anchor tier 100, with the bottom flanges 22 of the front panels 12 inserted into the notches 20 of the side panels 14/16 of the cell modules of the anchor tier 100. The cell modules of the second tier 120 are filled and a third tier 130 is then positioned set back on the second tier 120, with the bottom flanges 22 of the front panels 12 inserted into the notches 20 of the side panels 14/16 of the cell modules of the second tier 120. The cell modules of the third tier 130 are filled and a fourth tier 140 is then positioned set back on the third tier 130, with the bottom flanges 22 of the front panels 12 inserted into the notches 20 of the side panels 14/16 of the third tier 130. Finally, the cell modules of the fourth tier 140 are filled and the surrounding sand/soil graded as desired.

The tiered arrangement of cell modules of the present invention, of which FIGS. 9-11 represent examples, create a sand and/or soil internal reinforcement system that increases the effective tensile strength of the sand/soil and that can be formed without the need for heavy moving equipment. The system has the capacity to be penetrable by sand/soil and water and enables the release of hydrostatic pressure. The cell modules may be configured and arranged such that at no point within the vertical rise of the multi-tiered reinforcement system does the hydrostatic pressure exceed one pound per square inch, regardless of the number of tiers. The horizontal tiers may be extended selectively to widen the overall footprint of the system so that the energy of plunging-type waves is uniformly absorbed by the mass of sand/soil where the system is located.

It is to be noted that the reinforcement system also forms horizontal terraces, which after exposure by wave or wind action, may remain uncovered and is thereby suitable to establish separate planter boxes for native coastal vegetation. Further, the arrangement of the multi-tiered reinforcement system, upon exposure after aggressive wave action, can be traversed by pedestrians without difficulty. More generally and as earlier noted, the present invention is advantageous in that the modules may be arranged at angles with respect to one another such that curved and other complex shapes of the reinforcement system may be created, particularly to conform with the condition of the environment where the internal reinforcement is required. The modules are lightweight and can therefore be manually transported and set in place. They do not require additional coupling components to establish a multi-tiered reinforcement system such as, but not limited to, coated shear pins for alignment.

One or more example embodiments to help illustrate the invention have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the claims appended hereto.